‘Texts from Hillary’ photographer didn’t LOL— at first

April 11, 2012

(Photo courtesy Diana Walker/TIME)

Diana Walker, the award-winning photographer who shot the picture while on assignment with TIME magazine, was concerned when her photo started swirling around Internet. She hadn’t been asked, paid, or credited for the use of her work, she says.

But the story has a happy ending: the creators of the site have now added a credit line for the photos, and that’s enough for Walker.

“I’m following Secretary Clinton’s lead and being amused and taken with the idea that this picture is all over the world.” she says. Still, she says, the incident underscores the conflicts between photographers, who want to control their work, and the wide world of the Internet, where everything seems free. “There needs to be a dialogue about this,” she says.

Walker insists she didn’t realize how powerful the image would be when when she captured the black-and-white photo, which she—along with Reuters photographer Kevin Lamarque, who shot a color version that’s also being used on the Tumblr site—took during a flight to Libya late last year.

And she wishes that people who want to grab photos from the Internet and use them for their own purposes would make an effort to contact their original creators. “Before they used it, how about a call to me?” she asked. But, she admits, that might have resulted in no such memorable meme. “I’m not sure I would have said yes.”

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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